Three Stoke-on-Trent men arrested over Stone charity shop raids
POLICE have arrested three men in connection with a spate of charity shop burglaries.
Four shops in Stone's High Street were targeted by thieves in one night.
Items of jewellery and cash were taken from Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and Age Concern, while the culprits tried but failed to get into the town's Donna Louise Trust shop.
Investigating officers have arrested three Stoke-on-Trent men – two 28-year-olds and a 35-year-old – on suspicion of burglary and they have been released on bail pending further inquiries.
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Police have now released photographs of seized jewellery which they believe may have been stolen during the raids.
They want anyone who recognises the items to contact them.
PC Chris Moss, from Staffordshire Police, said: "Officers are currently investigating the incidents, including whether or not they are linked, and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
"We have seized a number of items of jewellery which we suspect to be stolen property.
"However, we would like to hear from anyone who recognises the items as ones they have recently donated to the charity shops."
The raids took place overnight on Thursday, February 21.
Liz Reynolds, manager of the Cancer Research UK shop, said the premises had suffered considerable damage. "I would guess there was about £2,000 of damage," she said.
"They broke in through a back window and kicked their way through the ceiling to get into the shop.
"We don't have a list of everything we've got because we have so much coming in, but I was able to identify at least four items that I knew had been taken straight away.
"Overall I would say it will have cost us £4,000. Each shop has a target we need to reach, and because of this I'm not going to make mine this year.
"Whoever did this is literally taking money away from research into cancer."
Victoria Malkin, manager of the British Heart Foundation shop, said: "It was horrible, you just don't expect it to happen.
"They went into our office and tried to get into the safe, which they didn't but it is broken.
"It will cost the British Heart Foundation a lot of money. We are struggling at the moment with donations as well."
Intruders broke into solicitors firm Crick and Mardling on the same night, but nothing was stolen.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 111 of February 22 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.